The BMJ Awards 2017: Anaesthesia

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j1557 (Published 27 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1557
  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist
  1. London, UK
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}btinternet.com

A patient centred approach is helping shortlisted teams achieve improvements in care, reports Nigel Hawkes

Perioperative medicine drives quality improvement

At West Suffolk Hospital, a 400 bed district general hospital in Bury St Edmunds, anaesthetists have taken the lead in driving a new patient centred pathway of care. By adopting the role of perioperative physicians involved in every stage of a patient’s care, the anaesthetic team has helped transform the hospital’s performance, says Patricia Mills, consultant anaesthetist and clinical director.

There was not much opposition to the changes, she says, which she attributes to moving in small steps, obtaining management buy-in, and the fact that the hospital is not very large. “We expected more challenge to placing anaesthetists in key roles previously held by physicians or surgeons,” she admits. “But this is not a particularly big hospital and the atmosphere here is collegiate. Changes in working practices were welcomed and embraced by staff.”

The hospital was facing increasing demands from an ageing population but its procedures were outdated. The changes affected every aspect of patient care, from pre-operative assessment to post-operative mobilisation. In every area where surgical patients’ care is designed and managed, anaesthetists took the lead role. The changes took four years to implement fully.

Results are excellent. The hospital has won a national award for best prevention of venous thromboembolism, is the top performing trust in the UK in the emergency laparotomy audit, and the best in the east …

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